Everyone who lives in New Canaan knows that in the summertime it becomes essentially a ghost town, with high-pitched middle school student screeches notably absent from Mackenzies and elsewhere. It begs the question: Where does our town’s youth venture off to in the summer?
We asked some members of the New Canaan High School graduating class of 2018 to find out how students would be spending their few months off before college. What we learned was that most teens’ summers revolved around one of three categories—career, travel, or volunteer work.
For senior Grace Brady, who will be attending Vanderbilt University in the fall, the spare time offered the opportunity to travel and help rural communities. She will be participating in what is known as “voluntourism” in Zimbabwe.
“For three weeks, we will be working hands-on with orphaned elephants and lions to rehabilitate them,” she said.
While he’s not venturing all the way to the southeastern tip of Africa, future Cornell student Dylan Wietfeldt is another member of the graduating class with his sights set on helping the community—and not just because his mom made him.
“I will be at Soundwaters, an educational institution in Stamford,” he said. “I’m going to work with young kids to teach them about the animals that live in the Long Island Sound and what goes into preserving it.”
For some students, the main priority for the summer is saving up money for their freshman year of college—a piece of advice that is often echoed by older NCHS alumni.
“I am getting ready to go abroad for my first semester, which is a huge step,” said senior Clarisse Allehaut, who will be attending Colby College after completing her time abroad in France. “Most of my time will be spent making money by lifeguarding at The Lake Club.”
She will also be spending time in France this summer for what is known by many as a “senior trip,” where teens have a special vacation planned to spend with family before they take off for university.
Nonetheless, for many graduating students this summer is the last opportunity to say goodbye to friends with whom they’ve spent four years walking through the hallways of NCHS. They are choosing to take a final, well-deserved opportunity to kick back.
“For me, this summer is really about family and friends,” Boston College-bound senior Catherine Levine said. “I’m trying to keep my schedule as open as I can so I can enjoy myself for the last summer I have before college, where every summer I’ll probably be expected to do an internship.”